Beware Baby Turtles

Rebecca Johnson

Each year, cute little green turtles are sold to unsuspecting students and their families at popular vacation spots such as Myrtle Beach, NYC, Florida, and many other areas across the seaboard. These turtles, typically red-eared sliders, make poor pets for most students. Although often sold as “miniature” turtles that don’t get any larger or need very little care, they can actually grow to be 10 feet long, live over 20 years, and need a 75 gallon or larger aquarium with a strong filter in a few short years.

Most dorm rooms don’t allow large aquariums, and neither do most landlords. There’s also the risk of salmonella from turtles, especially those that are stressed from a recent move or that aren’t given proper care. Plus, it’s illegal to sell baby turtles to the public in all 50 states. The sale of baby turtles can be reported to the regional Food & Drug Administration office-their number can be found in the federal blue pages of a phone book or online.

Each year, thousands of students find themselves in the difficult position of finding new homes for their turtles once they realize they can no longer care for a growing pet. Yet, it’s nearly impossible to find good homes for such large turtles. It’s also illegal to release them. Please beware of this situation during spring break next week!